Cinderford had to dig deep to overcome a strong challenge from Blackheath and secure an opening day victory in National League One at the Well Hall Sports Ground.
Two yellow cards meant that the Forest side had to play twenty minutes of the match with 14-men and they also missed 12 points from the kicking tee. An unbeaten pre-season programme saw the visitors go into the game in good form, but they were soon defending their own line and only a knock-on denied the home side an early score. However, they quickly made amends when some fine handling saw full-back Nick Foster racing through for the opening try, which went unconverted.
Cinderford responded when hooker Nathan Taylor scored from a well-executed lineout catch and drive, but Sam Evans put Blackheath back in front when he landed a penalty. Jack Preece picked up yellow card on 32 minutes for a technical offence, but it was the visitors who finished the first-half on top and Taylor scored his second try in similar fashion to put Cinderford 10-8 ahead at the interval.
The second half saw the away side pressing forward in the early stages and good approach work from their forwards eventually led to captain Harry Hone forcing his way over for his side’s third try. Any thoughts that Cinderford were getting on top were soon dispelled though when a loose pass was picked off and Freddy Owen went over for a try, which Evans converted to level the scoring after 52 minutes. The visitors responded with a good spell of pressure in their opponent’s territory and Liam Hemming kicked a penalty to restore his team’s advantage.
Mike Wilcox picked up Cinderford’s second yellow card on 66 minutes for a deliberate knock-on but despite some anxious moments in the closing stages the Forest team held on to gain a hard-earned victory.
Cinderford; Mike Wilcox, Will Baldwin, Jamie Forrester, Liam Hemming, Tim Andrew, Reece Boughton, Mike Austin, George Porter, Nathan Taylor, James Elliot, Tyler Jerrum, Joe Dancer, Aaron Ryan, Jack Preece, Harry Hone.
Repls; Tim Brockett, Sam Baker, Matt Lane, George Evans, Paul Morgan.